Save Gas, Save the Planet

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Promisingly, space-based solar power stations could overcome the inconvenient truth that wind and solar will never get us anywhere near zero emissions because their output is inherently intermittent and there is, so far, no environmentally acceptable way to store their power at a global scale, even for one night. Orbital solar power stations, on the other hand, would continually face the sun, beaming clean power back through targeted radiation to Earth day or night, regardless of weather.

They would also be free from clouds and atmospheric interference and therefore operate with many times the efficiency of current solar technology. Moving solar power generation away from Earth—already possible but held back by the current steep costs of lifting the materials into space—would preserve land and cultural resources from the blight of huge panel farms and save landfills from the growing problem of discarded old solar panels. Sustainable energy advocates in the U. The U.

'Our jobs didn't exist 20 years ago'

Made in Space and others are eventually planning to build large structures, such as solar power stations, in space. As these technologies develop, they will augment each other, bringing costs down dramatically; space manufacturing, for instance, slashes the cost of solar installations in space. Eventually, firms will be able to supply endeavors in space with materials from the moon and asteroids, avoiding the cost and environmental impact of lifting them into orbit.

Mining the solar system comes with its own potential impacts, but extracting resources from distant and lifeless worlds is clearly preferable to the continued degradation of the Earth. Perhaps the most powerful role space can play is as inspiration. Space tourism might seem like a frivolity for the rich, but it can be so much more.

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The leaders of the biggest space firms are already thinking way beyond tourism. These people would build stations, conduct research, and produce goods for use in space and on Earth.

What Can You Do RIGHT NOW To Save The Earth?

The Amazon mogul Jeff Bezos imagines a spacefaring civilization that keeps our home planet pristine and protected, as a sort of national park, while dirty extractive and manufacturing processes take place in orbital facilities. Some experts have mocked this idea.

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The fact is that while some of the plans described by Musk, Bezos, and others might seem utopian or hubristic, given the realities of climate change, humanity needs hope. A future that concentrates only on managing apocalypse, without offering the potential for something better, is no future at all. In the worst scenario, our precious blue-and-green marble will end up looking like its neighbors Venus or Mars simply because we chose not to learn from them. This story appears in the Summer print issue.

Save the planet, burn fossil fuel

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To get access to this special FP Premium benefit, upgrade your subscription by clicking the button below. Thank you for being an FP reader. To get access to this special FP Premium benefit, subscribe by clicking the button below. Who Will Save the Planet? By Greg Autry July 20, Air pollution is damaging not only to human health, but to other species and ecosystems as well.

Our atmosphere is a protective layer of gases surrounding Earth. But human activity also pollutes the atmosphere. Some of these chemicals take part in reactions in the atmosphere, and can result in acid rain. But human activity is also releasing them in large quantities.

To save the planet, fossil fuels need to stay underground | Letters | Environment | The Guardian

This contributes to global climate change. In the long-term, they can worsen heart and lung problems. Here are a few ways that we can protect ourselves and other species from the harmful effects of air pollution. Use our vehicles less. We can take public transportation, ride a bike, or walk whenever possible.

This will reduce the amount of pollutants emitted into the air. Use cleaner fuels and more fuel-efficient products. Encourage your parents and other grown-ups to use cleaner fuels in their car. A good choice is E10, a blend of clean-burning ethanol and gasoline. Or, they can switch to a more fuel-efficient car that gets better gas mileage. On a smaller scale, they can replace gas-powered lawn mowers with alternatives such as electric or manual mowers.

Transform the food system

Factories can use control devices. For example, factories can use "scrubbers" on smoke stacks to trap particles and protect against acid rain.